Final curtain falls on Glenwood ghost tour
September 5, 2018
Every October for the past 18 years the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum has hosted the Ghost Walk.
The fundraising event, which helped fund the historical society and museum throughout the year and during the offseason, will not be back this year.
"It's a hard thing to realize, that it's over," said Bill Kight, the executive director of Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum.
Typically sold out, the ghost walk took visitors on a tour of the historic Linwood Cemetery atop Jasper Mountain over looking Glenwood Springs.
“It’s a hard thing to realize, that it’s over,” said Bill Kight
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The cancellation of the event held the last three weekends in October came down to a combination things.
Like many events, the walk is completely dependent on volunteers.
"Our volunteers are aging. It's difficult to ask them to go and commit to three weekends in October," Kight said. "To be out there whether it rains or snows, warm or cold and stand there and deliver a performance."
One show typically took 17 to 20 volunteers to make it happen. The task proved difficult many times with volunteer illnesses and other commitments.
"We are in different times then when we started this 18 years ago. … Life is much more complicated, it is difficult for people to make the commitment," Kight said.
Kight looked to get more funding from the city, but with A&I tax money tied up in so many projects in Glenwood he decided against asking for help from the council.
"It getting more and more difficult to be sustainable without help form the municipality or county governments," Kight said. "Glenwood has a rich history, it's what brings people to town; it shouldn't be so hard to survive, but it is."
With finally coming to grips with the cancellation of the event, Kight is beginning to turn people away as they try to make reservations.
"We appreciate and thank the community support every year, we wish we could keep it going, but its not practical," he said.
Kight also is trying to brainstorm ideas to raise money to replace the money that the walk usually brought in.
Annually the ghost walk generated $8,000 to $10,000 depending on weather.
"We still want to do downtown tours, not abandoning portraying characters in town," said Kight. The historical society and museum is hoping to work with businesses and hotels to create tour packages for visiting tourists that involve individual ghost stories that have ties to buildings or businesses.
The loss of the money generated from the walk will hurt the historical society. Kight is planning a silent auction during Hotel Colorado and Yampa Spa and Vapor Caves' 125th anniversary celebration Sept. 15 in West Glenwood. The auction will include duplicate assets in the museum collection.
"We just have to think of a creative way to stay afloat," Kight said.
The historical society and museum are continuing to look for volunteers, to help at the museum.
Kight is the only full-time employee, with two part-time employees. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Kight at the Glenwood Springs Historical Society at 970-945-4448.